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Drop bottom

3351 Views 14 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  mmiller
I am aware of a lot of the discussion of screened bottom boards which I have chose not to do.

But having cleaned out my 2 survivors today I think a drop bottom without a screen would be the ticket. It would have saved a lot of scooping dead bees.

btw: amazed at how small the colony is and still surviving larva and capped brood(fingers crossed)
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My first two tbh I built had solid bottoms. I have since sold them. Then I built two with a screened bottom but with a hinged bottom board that I could open for ventilation. Never opened them, until 1 died out, then I open it and tore off the screen to clean it out. The next two I built I just hinged the bottom board with no screen. To clean, I just swing down the bottom board and scrape with a paint scraper. I did build screened add-ons that I can attach with the bottom board swung open, that have slots for inserting a tacky board for mite drop counts, but have never used them. To sum all of this up, I like the hinged solid bottom board the best. I have not needed screens in the three years I have had them.
I'm not a very good wood worker. The door I hung to the basement hardly closes, so i figured I wouldn't even try.

When I check in early spring it looks horrible, but as the numbers increase they clean it up. So I don't think I would go with the hinged bottom board. It would be good on dead outs though.
I suppose a hinged bottom would make sense if it's up on legs anyway... when I had mine on legs they blew over in the wind, so I gave that up...
Holy cow! I had one on legs that made it through the derecho a couple years ago. I ran out when it first started and was trying to tie the top on it. It got so bad that I thought the straps on the roof will be nice so that after it is over I would be able to find the hive and the top all together! Lost trees, but the hive was still there.
I've seen on the news what those tornadoes can do out in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, etc. I don't know if you set the legs in concrete anchors if that would be enough to save them. I feel bad for the guys that try to keep bees in those areas...heck, to live in those areas!
>I feel bad for the guys that try to keep bees in those areas...heck, to live in those areas!

And I feel bad for the guys who live with floods, and earthquakes, and hurricanes, and typhoons, and Tsunamis... not to mention 120 F temperatures and -60 F temperatures...
Interesting thread. After building my KTBHs similar to the Bush method (with a 1x10 as a bottom) I was just thinking about spring clean out. Just cleaned out my langs and have an inch or two of dead bees in the bottom. In some it clogged up in between the frames of the bottom box. Luckily I use top entrances, so this really doesn't cause any problems. I also have top entrances in my KTBHs via the Bush method of recessing the first bar. I assume that the bees will be hard pressed to clean out all those dead bees if they have to drag them up and out. I assume I should bring a little dust pan next spring to clean the dead bees out?
They usually get them out eventually, but If you keep scraping them towards the door when you happen to be in there and scoop them out the door when you happen to be at the front, it might save them some work. Usually they don't catch up on housecleaning until about the main flow...
And I feel bad for the guys who live with floods, and earthquakes, and hurricanes, and typhoons, and Tsunamis... not to mention 120 F temperatures and -60 F temperatures...
When you put it that way, Nebraska seems almost as nice as Virginia.:)
A couple years ago my daughter and I were watching through a window a bee carrying a dead bee all around the hive. We joked that she was showing off. I think that when the hive gets strong enough they do a pretty good job of clearing the dead bees out. Undertaker bees!
Well it is cold and windy and dry here. But I have an expression that extreme weather weeds out stupidity. The older I get I have come to think that maybe that actually means that similar fools concentrate in one area.
Well I am fortunate not to experience extreme climatic conditions and I,m not troubled by bears or honey badgers. My KTBH has now been through 5 (mild) winters and I have tried both screened and unscreened. The hive is built to Phil Chandlers spec and set up on legs. First 2 years I had a screened bottom with a hinged board to close up for winter. I just got the feeling that the bees prefered the closed solid bottom and may, I say may, have been a little reluctant to expand horizontally in the summer with the screened bottom. I changed over to hinged solid floor and now all my Kenyans are like this. Hinged only for ease of cleaning as it stays shut year round. No problem with them appearing reluctant to expand horizontally anymore.
I agree, if for some reason you have a hankering to count mites you should put the screen above the solid bottom. I have no time for this, particularly since I don't think the numbers would mean much in a TBH due to the sloped sides. One of the things I like about TBHs is the simplicity. Once you start adding do-dads and what-nots you may as well just add frames and call it a stubborn man's Langstroth.
I have hinged bottoms on my TBH's. It's great for cleaning the bottom in spring. Not required, but pretty easy to do and saves them having to clean it out. Whether or not it really matters? Who really knows.
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